everyone can do.

Sensitive Periods for Learning

The Absorbent Mind

Maria Montessori believed that every human being went through a quantum leap in learning during the preschool years. She felt this was especially true from birth to the first few years of life. The years when a child learns language is surely a profound and mysterious process of learning. The urges that a baby has to sit up, crawl, and walk are also stages of development that are innate. Montessori called this process of learning and behavior norms as the sensitive periods. During a sensitive period it is very easy to teach children certain concepts that later on will be somewhat more difficult for an older child to learn. Dr. Montessori believed that a child was the teacher in that we should observe our children to know what stage of learning or sensitive period they are in. Here is the most used chart for the sensitive periods in the Montessori approach:

Sensitive Periods for learning
Birth to 3 years:
The absorbent mind-the mind soaks up information like a sponge
Sensory learning and experiences: The child uses all five senses-touch, taste, feel, sight, and hearing-to understand and absorb information about his or her environment

1 ½ to 3 years:
Language explosion-a child builds his or her future foundation for language at this period.

1 ½ to 4 years:
Development and coordination of fine and large muscle skills, advanced developing grasp and release skill spawns an interest in any small object (usually dangerous ones on the floor).

2 to 4 years:
Very mobile with greater coordination and refinement of movement, increased interest in language and communication (they love to tell stories- true or not!), aware of spatial relationships, matching, sequence and order of objects

2 ½ to 6 years:
Works well incorporating all five senses for learning and adapting to environment

3 to 6 years:
Interest and admiration of the adult world, they want to copy and mimic adults-such as parents and teachers. One of the few times most children are very open to their parents and other adults.

4 to 5 years:
Using one’s hands and fingers in cutting, writing and art. Their tactile senses are very developed and acute.

4 ½ to 6 years:
Reading and math readiness, and eventually, reading and math skills.


Zakiya Ebrahim

posted at 2:22 p.m. on May 19, 2009

Great article. I am currently studying montessori and i am very interested in the sensitive periods, where can i get more information about it?


posted at 11:47 a.m. on May 29, 2009

it was great reading this i m doind montessori education from an institute and it gives the information abt our child which we earlier didnt know


posted at 4:35 a.m. on March 27, 2010

thats great it was amazing and simple i doing montessori diploma from mmt nce of pakistan .its give proper age wize information our child


posted at 11:43 a.m. on June 1, 2010

i m from USA,sadia i need more info abt yur course let me know i did my cource from USA tell me what u did there

Alan Evans

posted at 6:57 a.m. on October 3, 2010

Hi. I recently completed a thesis on Montessori. I have added a section to my website which contains loads of material for free.

maryum siddiqui

posted at 3:49 a.m. on December 1, 2010

v nice it really works :)

Mira Shah

posted at 2:45 a.m. on March 17, 2011

what are the six sensitive periods. write seven or eight lines on each of them


posted at 12:38 a.m. on May 15, 2011

i am also start doing tjhis corse but i felt some difficulties to understand ,need some help please some one can help me ,about six sensitive periods ,i searc alot but ,.;(


posted at 5:55 a.m. on May 16, 2011

what are the six sensitive periods?write seven or eight lines on each of them


posted at 3:43 a.m. on June 16, 2011

hey i was just wondering what is the sensitive period of development


posted at 4:49 p.m. on November 24, 2011

hi to all montessorimom.comers this is my first post and thought i would say hi - thanks speak soon g moore

minnekabksolar garden lightshan

posted at 9:45 p.m. on October 10, 2012

We are currently researching for a thesis and we have been exploring your blog for some days. Thank you for your post it is handy for us.

Submit Comment

Privacy policy We collect email addresses and names to send out newsletters on occasion. This information is not transferred to any third parties.

To opt-out of future communication and remove the information we collected, enter your email at and click "Unsubscribe".

Markdown Syntax


Creative Commons License Comments licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Last Updated: June 2, 2012
Copyright © 2001-2015 All Rights Reserved